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Nutrients to Keep You Younger, Longer

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 7 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Anti-aging Staying Young Youthful

It's a tough world out there. You're constantly battling the enemies: pollutants, additives, toxins. It's a tough world inside your body too, where free radicals lurk, waiting to prey on healthy cells. Free radicals are volatile atoms that steal electrons from other molecules. There damaging effects can cause heart disease and cancer. They can also increase the effects of aging.

Free radicals are normally present in your body in small numbers. Their actions are not completely harmful. They do, in fact, have some beneficial activities including an oxidation process that produces energy. They are also responsible for destroying some harmful bacteria. To prevent free radicals getting out of control, your body has an in built army known as free radical scavengers. This army works to neutralize free radicals so they are passed from the body without causing harm. However, if you have been ill or your diet in not healthy this can result in the presence of a high number of free radicals, more than the army of free radical scavengers can handle.

There are certain enzymes, vitamins and minerals that are known as anti-oxidants. Anti oxidants are free radical scavengers. They neutralize free radicals by attaching themselves to their free electron. To function properly they need trace minerals like zinc, selenium, and copper.

Vitamin A is an excellent free radical blocker. It prevents the formation of abnormal cell growth by maintaining healthy cell membranes. They also stimulate the immune system to help combat infection. Beta-carotene can be found in: broccoli, spinach, carrots, cantaloupes and peaches. Cod liver oil is also an excellent source of vitamin A.

Vitamin C is a super antioxidant. Even very small amounts can have a beneficial effect. It has also been shown to be able to increase the effects of other antioxidants such as vitamin E. You can get vitamin C from citrus fruits, strawberries and cruciferous vegetables.

Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant. It has been noted that its rich antioxidant effect may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

Selenium is a partner and synergist with vitamin E. Selenium has been shown to prevent and reduce the proliferation of certain types of cancer cells. Selenium can be taken as a supplement or found in whole grains, chicken and fish.

Zinc stimulates the immune system. Specifically, it helps protect cells from free-radical damage. Natural sources include lean meats, shell fish, chicken and whole grains.

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